The Torres-Martinez Tribal Council
The following were elected or re-elected to 2 year terms:
- Mary Belardo - Chairperson
- Pauline Duro - Vice Chairperson
- Torres Martinez - Treasurer
- Mary "Maxine" Resvaloso - Secretary
- Derlene Auclair
- Philip Morreo
- Elaine Penaloza
(Harvey Duro - Past Chairman)
The Torres-Martinez Band of Cahuilla Indians is a major stakeholder in the Salton Sea. In fact, approximately 40 percent of the Torres-Martinez Reservation is in the Salton Sea. The 220,000-acre Salton Sea was designated as impaired in the 1993 water quality assessment conducted by the State of California because of salinity, selenium in fish tissue, recreational impacts, and nonpoint source pollution. Recent massive bird and fish kills at the Salton Sea raise concern regarding the ability of the watershed to support aquatic life and habitat. Torres-Martinez is interested in taking an active role in Salton Sea restoration efforts, and its location on and in the northern portion of the Sea makes it a key component of such efforts.
The Torres-Martinez Band is affiliated with the Cahuilla. Their tribal lands cover is 24,800 acres, and has a population of 140 Tribal members. The Tribal Offices are located at P.O. Box 1160, Thermal, CA 92274, 619/397-8144, 619/397-8146.
Ancestors of current Torres-Martinez Tribal members were Desert Cahuilla Indians, who distinguished themselves with their ability to develop water supplies with hand-dug, walk-in wells. Historic sites on the Reservation include Toro Indian Village, the Coachella Valley Fish Traps, and the Martinez Historic District, which has what are believed to be the oldest Indian Agency buildings in California. Planned business ventures include agriculture, a truck stop, a nature tourist/travel center, industrial activities, a sand & gravel operation, and a gold mine.
The Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians were established by Executive Order on May 15, 1876. The Reservation is situated in the lower Coachella Valley at the downstream end of the watershed. Approximately 11,000 acres of the Reservation were flooded by the Colorado River when the Salton Sea was formed in 1905-1907 and are still submerged. The remaining 13,800 acres are checkerboarded with private agricultural land, representing one of the most intense and productive agricultural areas in the country.
The Coachella Valley Stormwater Channel discharges to the Salton Sea on the Torres-Martinez Reservation. The channel is on the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 303(d) list of impaired surface waters because of violations of bacterial water quality objectives and the threat of toxic bioassay results. In addition, drains conveying agricultural return flows to the Salton Sea run through the Reservation at many locations.